Inspire

EATALY – A little Italy in the USA

EATALY – A little Italy in the USA

 

Have you been to an EATALY yet?  If not, and you live within 50 miles of one, you need to plan a field trip after you read this.  I promise it will be worth the drive.

I had never heard of EATALY until last weekend.  We were in Boston, visiting our daughter who goes to college in the city.   We literally stumbled across it, and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  I was honestly SO excited about this place that after wandering around for nearly a half-hour taking it all in, I told my husband I had to go back through and take pictures, because I knew I needed to share this with fellow “foodies” who have not yet experienced it. (I put as many as I could in this post.)

EATALY is a bit hard to categorize.  Yes, it’s a store.  You can browse and purchase things, but you can also eat there, enjoy happy hour, take a class, or just enjoy the environment they’ve created.  I would have to call it more of a “shopping experience”.   Think Disney World/Epcot for Italian food crossed with a Whole Foods store.  Very cool!

EATALY is an Italian company whose name was created by combining the words EAT and ITALY. Their first location in Turin, Italy was opened in 2007 and they now have 13 “shops” across the country.   There are currently five EATALY shops in the United States one each in Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago and two in New York City – Flat Iron and Downtown.  The company currently has plans to open a sixth location in Las Vegas later this year.  Their tag line is “Eat Better.  Live Better”  and their goal really seems to be to bring the experience of Italian food and the Italian way of life to the rest of the world.

EATALY Boston is located in the Shops at the Prudential Shopping Center located on Boylston Street  and it is H-U-G-E.  They have created smaller shops within the larger store for fresh produce, meat, fish, pasta, salad, wine, desserts and more.  In addition they have take away counters so you can grab prepared food and find a small table to eat it in store or take it with you.  Finally, they have at least five restaurants where you can sit down and be served some of the freshest Italian food you have ever had.   It’s great for lunch, happy hour and dinner with the family, friends or large groups.

Now, all that being said, as someone who grew up in Boston, I would still have to go to the North End in Boston if I wanted to have a romantic Italian dinner and some much needed authenticity.  EATALY and the North End are totally different.  EATALY is a bit upscale, modern and a great place to visit.  There were far too many people there when we went back around dinner time for it to be a romantic dining spot (although it was the weekend before the Boston Marathon, so it may have been extra busy because of that.)  The location, which is about 1.5 -2 miles away from the North End gives folks who work and live in Back Bay and South Boston a great local option for great Italian food and authentic Italian ingredients and groceries.

Since we were only in Boston for the weekend I didn’t have the need to buy groceries, but the foodie in me had a GREAT time looking at everything they offered. I spoke with a baker who told me the flour they use in their bread comes directly from a flour mill in Italy.  The bread is prepared with the same materials and in the same way as they do it in Italy.  That connection, and the thought that the bite I take here tastes exactly like it does in Italy, without having to take the trip, was a real lure for me. (Someone is a marketing genius in this operation!)  I asked what the rustic chocolate bread they offered was like as I had never heard of a bread like that before.  He promptly cut one open and gave us a sample…swoon.  It was amazing!  I immediately bought a loaf.  We left it with our daughter to share with her friends.  I’m sure if he put the rest out as samples everyone who tasted it bought a loaf.  I wish I had some right now.

I took the pictures of some of the restaurants below at about 10AM Saturday when we wandered through.  When I tell you it was packed when we came back at 5:30 PM I mean you could hardly move.  The wait for most of the restaurants was an hour.  Again, it was Marathon weekend, so a regular weekend might not be as bad.  Call ahead and check on the wait.

 

  

 

 

In addition to groceries, wine, take away food and happy hour they also host daily events.  A quick look at the EATALY BOSTON CALENDAR finds things like “Sip and Savor” a wine and cheese event, “How to make spring Risotto” and “Wine and Dine”.  Each event gives an overview and the cost associated with it.  I can tell you that this week’s events are already sold out.   If you want to attend something at EATALY check their calendar early and plan ahead.

I hope someone at EATALY Corporate is planning an EATALY shop for Atlanta;)  Maybe Atlantic Station? Or Avalon?  It would really add to either of these destinations and provide some new Italian dining experiences for the south.

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of EATALY – sorry couldn’t resist;)  Check out one of their locations if you find yourself within driving distance or staying in a city that has one. I really think you’ll love it!

 

 

2018 American Craft Council Show – Artists I loved!

The 2018 American Craft Council Show and Artists I loved!

Are you an art lover?  A crafter? A jewelry lover?  Have you been to an American Craft Council Show yet?  If not, you need to find one in a city close to you and GO! Here’s a link to find a list of show locations.

A close friend invited me to go with her to the “2018 American Craft Show” on Friday (going on all weekend at the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta) and it was FANTASTIC!  I’ve never been before.  This is not your run of the mill craft show.  I would consider this a high end art show with exhibits by incredibly talented, some very highly trained, and prolific artists from across the country.  There was something for everyone!  There were 230 artists/booths at this show and it was $13 for admission for the day.  For the price of a movie ticket my friend and I spent 4 hours viewing some of the most incredible glass, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, fashion wearables, fiber, wood and metal art pieces available and talking to artists.

I met several artists who’s work I really loved.  I hope to give you a taste of their art via this post.

CHIE HITCHNER:

The first artist I want to highlight is a woman whose exquisite hand-loomed wall hangings, with timeless and intricate designs, literally stopped me in my tracks.  I had  to get a closer look.  She is a textile artist named Chie Hitcher from Montgomery, AL.  I’ve included a link to her website below so you can view her biography and look at her gallery.  I just love her work!  When I asked her about her pieces and her process she had such a kind and quiet demeanor she simply drew me in. The amount of work that goes into each piece is mind-boggling!

Her exquisite wall hangings have clean and timeless, even modern, designs. They are incredibly beautiful and detailed and I found the colors she uses in many of the designs she creates to be very soothing.  Her process is painstaking.  The pieces she was exhibiting at the show were mostly made from silk fibers, but she also works in linen and wool.  She hand dyes all her threads, mostly with natural dyes that she creates with organic items like onion skins, and plants from her yard.  The threads are either dyed uniformly, or dyed multiple colors, in multiple stages.  The multiple colored strands, when added to the loom, gives the piece a variegated or polychromatic look.  Simply gorgeous!  It is hard for me to fathom the patience it must take to add each strand to the loom one piece at a time.  It can take months for her to complete a piece depending on the complexity.

Chie won an “Award of Excellence” at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco (August 2017) for the piece she is standing with below, and was awarded “Best In Show” at CraftBoston Holiday (December 2017.)  The pattern in this piece reminded me a little bit of a quilt pattern, but this is far different, and much more time consuming than quilting.   The detail honestly must be seen in person.   It is impossible to appreciate the intricacies of this design from a photograph.   When the fabric is lifted you can see each tiny strand that was added to create the design on the front.  This is not embroidery by the way – this is all done on a loom.  Chie uses a  “technique called nuki-tori, a form of weave lacing where she manually inserts extra weft threads in the weave to create a design or image.  Its’ effect is often similar to that of embroidery, but the image is created during the original weaving process.” I believe she said it took her more than 3 months to create this piece!  When you get up close you can actually see designs within the design that are not visible from far away, or in this photo.

From her website: “Chie’s work is a modern reinterpretation of Japanese weaving and dyeing techniques that are hundreds of years old.  Many of her pieces use Japanese ikat weaving techniques including tate-kasuri, in which the warp (vertical) threads have been dyed more than one color prior to looming; weft kasuri, in which the multi-dyed weft threads are placed into the fabric with each pass of the shuttle; and zurashi-kasuri, in which these multi-dyed threads are intentionally offset from one another to create a dreamy effect or a specific design.”

UPDATE:  Chie Hitchner was one of two artists at the ACC Atlanta show awarded the “Rare Craft Award of Excellence,” which was sponsored by The Balvenie US.

You can follow her latest posts on instagram @chiehitchner.textileart or check out her website by clicking this link https://chiehitchner.weebly.com

KEN and JULIE GIRARDINI:

The second artist I want to highlight is actually a husband and wife team – Ken and Julie Girardini of Girardini Design.   I primarily had the opportunity to speak with Ken, as Julie was out of the booth when we stopped by.  However,  I met her briefly on our way out and I think it’s safe to say she has a great sense of humor and was clearly just as engaging at Ken.  I wished I’d had more time to stay and chat.  The couple have been married for 30 years.  That in itself is a beautiful thing;)

Above is a photo of Ken with the pieces that first caught my attention – to his left on the wall.  They are made of aluminum and the designs are created on the aluminum with acrylic that has been added in layers. Images are sometimes added between the layers and then more layers of acrylic are applied.  The result is modern, light, even ethereal.  Each piece is unique and can be purchased and hung separately, or they can be purchased in multiples and hung together to create a gallery wall as seen to his left.  I enjoyed the colors, complexity and organization that goes into this work.

Below is a photo I took from Ken and Julie’s website of one of Ken’s “Moving Series” image sculptures.  He did not have this piece at the show, but has several pieces online that I thought were incredibly unique.  They incorporate art and sculpture.  I  really enjoy color, design, organization in modern pieces.   The piece below has a little bit of all the things I like.

Wind Message

My friend noticed a bike wheel hanging on the opposite wall of their booth at the show.  Ken told us it was actually a modern bike rack he designed and sells on his site. I’ve taken a picture of the business card he gave me (below)  so I could share it here.  You can get a sense of the minimalist design – a modern and artistic piece that is both unique and useful!  What a great item to add to a small city apartment!  I think every apartment dweller in the city needs to consider one of these!  Based on some of the designs he had at the show, including the bike rack and a hanging rack, I asked Ken if he was by any chance an engineer.  He smiled and said, “Kind of.  I worked at NASA”.  It’s interesting how often art and science complement each other.

 

From their website: “Julie and Ken Girardini are the principal designers at their small studio in rural Maryland. They specialize in designing metal objects for the home: furniture, lighting, clocks, candleholders, as well as sculpture and fine art.  We are self-taught and pride ourselves on creating each and every piece by hand. We have deliberately chosen to make a living with our hands and minds and have done so for the past 28 years. Our primary medium is cold rolled steel, but we add curiosities like glass, brass, copper, paper and wood to keep it interesting.”

You can find more information about Ken and Julie and their designs on their website Girardinidesign.com

JEFF PENDER:

The last artist I’m highlighting from the show is Jeff Pender.  As we approached Jeff’s booth, but were still at a distance,  I could see white blocks, with a pop of color, stacked upon each other.  To be honest the Mom in me thought,  “I’m glad I don’t have small kids with me, they might knock them over!”  As we got closer it became clear they were a singular pieces of art – ceramic totems – incorporating multiple ceramic blocks that could each be turned 360 degrees, mounted on sturdy wooden bases.  Very cool!

As an art-lover, and and a mom involved in education, I thought these totems are not only interesting pieces for adults, but they would make an incredible interactive art exhibit for younger people.  How many times have you told your child, “don’t touch”?  I can hear my kids asking me to please buy one of these for our house.   I liked the minimalism and simplicity of the white ceramic blocks, along with the clean lines Jeff etches in black onto each of the blocks, and the pop of color the glass he embeds provides on other sides.

Jeff explained that some of his pieces are created almost like a puzzle.  As you turn the blocks there are points at which the lines of the designs, on the individual blocks, connect into a single design.  I  shared with him that I thought these would be great in a modern hotel…or even better…a display of them at Disney World! ( Kids LOVE interactive art).  He said  he was actually recently commissioned to create a custom piece for a hotel in the southeast region.  I think they are very lucky.  It’s going to be very popular!

Below is another picture of one of Jeff Pender’s “ceramic totems” taken from his website which I have included a link to below.    He also creates unique wall hangings and sculptures that can be seen on his site.

Interactive life-size Totem in motion. Made of clay, wood, steel, glass.

 

For more information about Jeff Pender here is a link to more of Jeff’s website and interactive totems.

There were many more artists whose work I enjoyed at this show.   I took cards from the booths of others I enjoyed but did not speak with and will be checking out their art online.  My friend found several folk artists at this show that she loved and purchased a beautiful piece for her home.   Everything at the show is cash and carry.   Cash, credit cards and checks are accepted.

I’ll definitely be at this show again next year!  Hope to see you there!

XO

Kate

Valentine’s Day 2018

I can’t believe it’s already February!  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…

I know there are two camps of people when it comes to this holiday, but I honestly love Valentine’s Day.  I always have.  I don’t believe February 14th is just about romantic love.  While it can be about romantic love, for us it’s also about the love we have for our family and our children.  It can also be about celebrating the love you feel for your best friends, and don’t we usually do something special for our child’s teacher on Valentine’s Day? I think it’s so much fun to have a day to celebrate the love we feel for all the special people in our lives.

Our family has always celebrated Valentines Day at dinner with our favorite little valentine’s – who are now definitely not so little anymore.  They are pretty much adults, and this year they are both very far away at college.   So, another first this year – my first valentine’s day in 22 years without any kids at home:(   Yeah.  I know what you’re thinking…stop that.

Our tradition has been to make a “fun” dinner that everyone agrees on and try to shape some part of it into a heart.  Heart shaped pizza became our staple.  Maybe it is at your house too?   And dinner has always, always,  been followed by a decadent chocolate dessert.  Because I also fall into that camp – Valentine’s Day must include chocolate.  This year I already know dessert will be a chocolate mousse pie by yours truly.  I’ll share the recipe and some photos in a future post.

 

So, without any kids at home I’m planning a little further ahead this year.  Since our kiddos will be enjoying their day at school, I’m putting together some Valentine care packages to mail so we can be with them in some small way.   I hope they’ll enjoy their treats from home and share with friends.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed,  I’ve scattered some simple card ideas throughout this post.  If you like one of them I hope you’ll find some time to make your own version – and please share if you do:)  I just used card stock, scrapbooking paper, stamps, a punch and a glue stick and got creative for an hour.  These are my favorites so far.  I had so much fun I’m definitely going to be making a few more!    I think I need to work on a few more “guy” cards, don’t you?

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!  And I hope it includes chocolate;)

XO

Kate

This little guy has been our whole family’s valentine for the last 13 years:)

Time for Change…

 

A quote was dogging me for months last spring.  I know you’ve heard it,  “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates”  Over and over it appeared.  I felt like it was everywhere.

At the time I’d been volunteering for years with parents and teachers, trying to improve our large urban school district.  Unfortunately, anyone involved with public education today knows that means spending a lot of time in a “negative space”,  often speaking at school board meetings, and to politicians, who look at their computers while you’re talking, and pay more attention to parliamentary procedure than to the students and parents they represent.  It can be aggravating and disheartening – but students are important to me.  So I kept working.   And the quote kept appearing.  By October of last year it really had my attention.  I  committed it to memory.

I started to wonder if it was some kind of sign.  Maybe it was encouraging me to build something new in education? But what?  We had tried so many things in the past six years.   It was always one step forward, two steps back.  Ugh!  I call it the dance of educational frustration.

Then, a few chance meetings.  The first last summer with an artist on a trip to New England, and another, the following month, with a freelance writer while discussing an article. The positivity and excitement I felt during those discussions were so refreshing!  I started to wonder if it really might be time for me to make a change.  Maybe I needed to stop working in education?  But I had put in so much time and effort.  Part of me didn’t want to stop while another part was eager to work with such optimistic people in an encouraging space.

I can only imagine what I was feeling at this point was something akin to what it feels like to be in an abusive relationship.  I wasn’t happy.  I was tired of banging my head against a wall,  and yet I didn’t know how to quit.  I wanted it to work out.  In my case to make a positive difference in public schools in Georgia.  In my mind I think I knew it was time for change, and yet I kept showing up, hoping things would improve, knowing full well they wouldn’t.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to have felt that way.

Leaving started making sense to me, but I didn’t want to let people down.  I spoke to a few close friends about how I was feeling.  All the while that silly quote was bouncing around in my head.  How could I possibly focus on building something new and positive and when I was spending all my time trying to get school board members, who refused to listen?  I think at one point I actually said out loud, “OK. Talk universe. I’m listening.”

In my personal life my mother has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for the last 19 years. It has been a difficult and emotional journey.  Those of you who are helping to take care of parents who are ill while bringing up your own children (the sandwich generation)  know it can be stressful, especially when you don’t have siblings around to help share the burden. (I have to say here my husband and my kids have been amazing and patient and helpful.  I am very blessed.)

I have sadly, and sometimes angrily, watched my mother’s health deteriorate in more recent years.  Due to this, living a positive and creative life has taken on more importance for me.  I know life is short and precious. My mother, who is now  in a wheel chair,  often says I rush around too much. “You’re so busy! Just slow down!”  But, because of my experience with her disease I feel a sense of urgency about life.  I need to do things now, because someday, hopefully a long time from now, I may not be able to.

So during this time of raising my children, volunteering in education and helping take care of my mother I’ve spent any free time  I had working on creative projects.  Being creative has always been the way I recharge my batteries and renew my spirit.  It somehow allows me to think through even complex problems and come up with new solutions.  Maybe it’s just getting away from the actual dilemma and turning my analytical brain off for a bit.   I had always loved the ability to think outside the box and create something new.  And then it hit me… like a lightening bolt.  “The secret to change is to spend all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  I had been building something new every time I had a spare moment.  In those moments I always felt positive and uplifted and I often wished I had more time to spend on it.  Ok, universe I hear you.  But, what was I supposed to DO with this knowledge?  Was this a path I was supposed to take?  And if so, how?

So I started by connecting with other creative women and asking questions and I’ve discovered that women are truly born creators.  For goodness sake we have the ability to bring human life into the world;)   Whether it’s having children, creating a home or pursuing a career -making something new is a part of who we are.  It’s in our DNA.  I think we all have it whether we believe it or not.  And there are countless ways to express it.  The creative moms I’ve met are filled with an energy and positivity that is catching and encouraging.  I never felt that dealing with school systems and governmental bureaucracy.

As I embrace this new path I’ve realized that being creative somehow feels like breathing to me.  I’ve found that some creative endeavors have been easy while others have absolutely taxed me.  I think the feelings we have are a kind of emotional roadmap.  Maybe it’s our soul, or some kind of divine spark,  trying to lead us in the right direction.  I know others feel the same way.  While I’ve moved on from some things I’ve tried,  I’ve become even more passionate about others, and I feel encouraged to dive deeper.  At the center of everything I have felt drawn to over the years has been the  manipulation of color and texture and making something new that didn’t exist before.

Being creative is a passion for me.   Even if I go a few days or a week without putting a brush to paper or wax to a board,  I find myself thinking about an idea, making a sketch, or noting some colors or patterns I’d like to try together.  These days I’m spending a lot more time on it.   I primarily work in encaustic and watercolor right now, although I still like to play with acrylic on canvas from time to time, and I’ve committed to making at least one quilt a year;) I’m sure there are other mediums I haven’t yet discovered that I will try at some future point.  (Ceramics maybe?)  I just know that somehow I’m on the right path.  I no longer feel negative and frustrated.  I look forward to getting up early in the morning, even on the weekends, making coffee and seeing what my day holds!  What I am spending my time on feels right. It makes me happy and I hope I will remain healthy enough to do it for a long time.

So, this year I not only hear Socrates words, I am embracing them.  I will “spend my energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” and see where it takes me.   It’s a totally new venture for me, and I’m equally nervous and excited to explore it.  I’m committed to being creative every day  – whether that means creating a piece of encaustic art, or watercolor, making greeting cards for my mother to sign to keep in touch with friends,  creating a new cookie recipe, building a headboard, or blogging about this creative life.  I’m going to focus positive energy on building it.   I hope this will allow me to connect with more women who are finding themselves on a new path.  Maybe we can encourage each other to build something new.

Below is a photograph of an encaustic piece I’m currently experimenting on with several types of ink.  I’ll let you know how it comes out in a future post;)

I wish you good health and creative thoughts!

XO

Kate

Taking the plunge…my first post!

OK…honestly…this is a little nerve wracking.  My first official post to Managed by Mom. (Yikes!) This past New Year’s my resolution was to “Make A Difference”.   Yeah, kinda vague, I know.  And once you get to know the OCD part of me you’ll find out how truly out of character this really was.  As an ex-corporate mom I know better.  Goals are supposed to be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – and overall this was none of those things.  But… I kept thinking about it.  As the year progressed the idea of starting my own blog was planted and has kept creeping into my thoughts.  Let’s get real, I blame Pinterest:).  This summer I finally decided I needed to listen to the little voice inside my head and give this a go.

I’ve been inspired by so many wonderful people in the past few years, some of whom I’ve never met in person, to care more and learn more and color outside the lines.  I’ve been following the blogs of bright, insightful and creative women, of all ages, who are doing inspiring things with their lives outside of a 9-5!  They have motivated me to do more as well..but it’s been a one sided relationship with my virtual friends doing all the giving.  So, I’ve decide it’s time to take the plunge and contribute…to make a difference.  I hope you like what you find on my little spot on the internet.  I also hope it will inspire you just as others have inspired me to connect and share!

Copyright © 2018 · Theme by 17th Avenue